After announcing last week that COVID-19 road checks would be established at four different BC highway locations over this past weekend, RCMP said no tickets or fines were handed out at any of the locations.
“We checked over 1,400 vehicles, two people voluntarily turned around and no fines were issued,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet told Daily Hive.
She noted the busiest traffic period was on May 7, at the old toll booth location on Highway 5, where over 700 vehicles were checked.
Even still, “we encountered no issues that I am aware of, and thank the residents of BC, who were not required to travel for essential reasons for staying local,” she said.
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Travel Restriction Road Checks are in place at select locations on select days until May 25, as part of the provincial ban on non-essential travel.
Police said signage will be in place informing travellers of upcoming road check locations and providing safe u-turn routes should motorists determine that their travel is not essential and wish to avoid the road check. Commercial vehicles will not be subject to road checks.
At the road check locations, officers “will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel.”
If an officer determines that a person is travelling for non-essential reasons “they will be directed to leave the region.”
Those refusing to do so may face fines under the Emergency Program Act, including $230 for not complying with the requirements of a road check and a $575 fine for violating the travel order.
For the purpose of these restrictions, the province has also combined some of BC’s health authorities together in order to create “regional zones.”
Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health, which encompasses the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley, will be considered one health region. Interior Health and Northern Health will make up another regional zone. The third and final zone will be Vancouver Island, which has been slightly adjusted. People are still encouraged, however, to stay within their local community.
The province has outlined its list of what sort of travel is considered to be essential. These reasons include:
- Returning to your principal residence, moving or helping someone move;
- Work, both paid and unpaid (volunteer);
- Commercial transportation of goods;
- Getting healthcare or social services or helping someone get those services;
- Court appearance, complying with a court order or parole check-in;
- Shared custody agreement;
- Childcare services;
- Attending school at a post-secondary institution;
- Responding to a critical incident, like search and rescue operations;
- Providing care to a person because of a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or a physical, cognitive or mental impairment;
- Providing care or assistance to a person who is seriously ill, disabled or has a physical or cognitive impairment;
- Visiting a resident (as an essential visitor) at: a community care facility licensed under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act that provides long term care within the meaning of section 2 of the Residential Care Regulation, a private hospital licensed under the Hospital Act, a non-profit institution that has been designated as a hospital under the Hospital Act and is operated primarily for the reception and treatment of persons requiring extended care;
- Attending a funeral.
BC Ferries also announced that it will deny customers who are travelling for non-essential reasons on the following routes, which cross between regional zones:
Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay
Tsawwassen – Duke Point
Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands
Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
Comox – Powell River
Port Hardy – Prince Rupert
BC Ferries will also not be scheduling extra sailings for the May long weekend.